Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Tuesday | December 11, 2012
Home : The Shipping Industry
Glad to have served the Shipping Association
Roger Hinds (left), immediate past president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), congratulates Kim Clarke, newly elected president of the SAJ during the association's annual general meeting held on November 30. Hinds served the SAJ as president from 2009 to 2012.
Message from the immediate past president

Fellow members of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), today I present my final report as president of this illustrious organisation after four years at the helm. Shortly after my election at the end of November 2008, I published a booklet in which I indicated the main pillars of my administration. I stated that primary among the things I wished to achieve were:

1. The continued dynamic training programme of all employees of the association to ensure that the organisation remained world class;

2. Support of the 2030 Vision advanced by the Government to transform Jamaica into a major logistics hub;

3. Establishment of a port community system;

4. Improvement of the condition of Newport West;

5. Advancement of our support for communities.

These were all very ambitious projects, and I believe that as an organisation, we have developed in relevance over the last 73 years because we have always focused on big ideas that transform a nation. The transformative effects of big ideas such as the modernisation of the port, which was fostered through innovations such as the Joint Industrial Council, the Kingston Port Workers Pension Fund, the 1998 Board of Enquiry, and other such significant achievements, have cemented the place of the association in the history of this country.

So anybody who assumes the role of president of this organisation has a huge role to play in ensuring that the organisation continues to innovate and be relevant in the changing landscape of our times.

I am not at all satisfied that my vision has been fully achieved or that all of my objectives as president have been met; but I do believe sincerely that the road has been prepared during my leadership for the continued development of our industry and for the sustained relevance of the association in the growth of our nation.

In terms of specifics, I am pleased that the Newport West roadworks have been completed. This matter has occupied more of our attention than one should consider reasonable, however, we will remain vigilant because the task is not over as maintenance of these roads and drains will still demand agitation and lobbying from us.

I am also happy to report that our painstaking efforts to develop support for the port community system have been advanced considerably over the last four years. The first stage of a two-stage tender has been released and two bidders shortlisted to enter into a second round of tendering. The project has received technical support from the International Trade Centre, Geneva; the USAID, and the IDB. The Port Authority and the SAJ have collaborated in the recruitment of a project manager to work full time on the implementation of the system.

Very rewarding is the fact that most agencies are now seeing the port community system (see definition below) as central to the development of the Logistics Hub, and Cabinet approved its implementation by the PAJ working with Jamaica Customs and the SAJ. Based on the schedule that has been agreed, the system should be in place by the target date for the expanded Panama Canal.

The Logistics Hub project is taking on momentum, and there appears to be consensus among relevant stakeholders, including Government and Opposition, on the benefits of pursuing this policy. Any criticism would have to be in relation to the pace of development of the approach to implementation, rather than to the acceptance of the need to implement.

aggressive training

The training of our employees has continued aggressively in all areas of operations on the port as well as in administrative systems. At every level, we are preparing greater competence to meet the challenge that we see arising from Jamaica's push to improve its participation in the supply chain. Our employees are among the best trained in the industry regionally and, we believe, will be among the most adaptive to the new environment of shipping and logistics.

Concurrent with these internal approaches to readiness, the SAJ has extended its outreach in three particular ways:

1. Involvement in local and international shipping and trade organisations;

2. Lobbying with Government;

3. Outreach to communities.

In the first area, we have been a vocal and active member of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and we have stayed close to the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, the Jamaica Exporters' Association, and the Jamaica Employers' Federation, of which we are members. We have maintained a good relationship with the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, and with all of these named bodies we have sought to advance collaboration on points of common interest. So, too, organisations such as the Port Trailer Haulage Association and the bodies representing customs brokers and freight forwarders have been partners as we jointly seek to advance the shipping and logistics sector.

On the international front, we have maintained the association's involvement in meetings and conventions that intensify our learning about global developments in shipping. We have attended the Terminal Operations Conference, one of the best for networking and learning about the developments of cargo terminals and related services. We have also attended the Seatrade Cruise Conference.

serve with energy, competence

Three members of our managing committee are now members of the General Council of the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA), having been elected in October to serve. Past president of the SAJ, Grantley Stephenson, was elected president of the CSA, and for that I extend congratulations on behalf of the entire industry. Newly elected president, Kim Clarke, is now a Group A member of the council, and I have been elected as chairman of Group A. We intend to serve regional shipping with energy and competence and to foster the growth of this industry to the benefit of all members of the CSA. I wish to extend a special thanks to past SAJ president Mike Bernard, who served on the CSA General Council for six years with dedication.

As this report is being finalised, the SAJ's Mobile Clinic is doing service at the Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary. The unit is assisting to provide emergency service at the hospital, which was severely damaged in recent Hurricane Sandy.

This is one of the many ways in which the SAJ has continued to be active in the community. The mobile clinic has been engaged in partnership with various Rotary clubs to provide health screening in communities across Jamaica. Just last year, we also took the clinic to the Caribbean Maritime Institute, one of many educational institutions that we have assisted with medical services.

Twice monthly, we reach out to citizens of Greenwich Town, who attend clinic at the SAJ where they are seen by doctors and nurses and provided with medication. We also continue to support the Marcus Garvey Basic School with a range of financial support, including the payment of teachers.

I am happy to report that our general manager was appointed as chairman of the board of Tavares Gardens Primary School, an institution within easy reach of the port, and I have learnt that already, his efforts are making a difference at the school.

During the period of my presidency, we have celebrated with immense pride two landmark anniversaries. The first was the 70th anniversary of the Shipping Association of Jamaica in 2009, and the other the 60th anniversary of the Joint Industrial Council, this year. Both sets of events gave us a chance to review some of the contributions that the shipping industry has made to nation building and to honour some of the persons who have given outstanding service to our industry and the country. I was proud to participate in the related events and to be associated with the awardees, including our partners in the trade union movement.

Serving as president over the last four years has allowed me to work very closely with the management team, which is one of the great assets of the association. The general manager and his team carry a considerable load each day with commitment, efficiency, and style. I thank them for their dedication and their value-creation focus.

I wish to leave a few parting comments on the wider questions of the development of the port. Jamaica has tremendous potential as an actor in the global supply chain. This is based fundamentally on factors such as our location and experience in serving as a transshipment port, our very outstanding industrial relations practice, and the quality of our infrastructure and systems.

preparing for the future

As the international game changes with the expansion of the Panama Canal, what we have done in the past will only be as relevant as the steps we make from this point forward to prepare ourselves for the future of shipping and logistics.

As an association, the SAJ has worked tirelessly with our partners in Government, the trade unions, and the private sector to indicate the possibilities and to structure the approaches to attaining our potential. I have no doubt that we are all seized on the absolute necessity to be ready, even if all players are not equally informed about the progress being made toward readiness. We in shipping have a considerable role to play in educating the nation about the opportunities of our industry, and the fact that this business, perhaps more than any other, can help us to attain real economic development.

We need to continue the work to develop a unified focus on shipping and logistics to enable the entire country to support investments in the appropriate systems, whether they be additional port infrastructure, modern equipment, IT systems, or the training of people.

I am happy that the Shipping Association of Jamaica has the leadership to create the correct focus. As I leave the office of president, I am sure that the new president of the association will lead this illustrious organisation with a dedicated focus on helping to steer Jamaica's shipping industry through difficult but greatly rewarding possibilities.

I have enjoyed the support of this eminent group of leaders who have served on the managing committee. I wish to thank them for the opportunity to have served them in this capacity. Above all, I wish to thank you the members for the tremendous vote of confidence for having allowed me to serve for all of four terms as president.

Roger Hinds

Immediate Past President

Shipping Association of Jamaica

What is a port community system?

A port community system is an electronic Single Window system being promoted by Customs authorities, ports authorities, and other members of the logistics chain to speed up the documentation process in shipping to allow pre-clearance of cargo and to ensure tracking and tracing of shipments with the use of computers. The Shipping Association of Jamaica has played a leading role in developing awareness of the benefits of such a system to Jamaica and has been successful in winning support for its implementation from agencies of the Government such as the Port Authority of Jamaica and Jamaica Customs.
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